Our biggest scientific discovery involved the oceanic white tip shark, specifically the juveniles. A team of U.S. shark researchers, from Florida International University and Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI), had been studying these sharks in the Bahamas for the past seven years. During that time, they placed satellite tags on over 100 individuals, many of which were determined to be pregnant. Through their tracking research, they determined several patterns of movements which confirmed that some of these female sharks had passed through our region of Haiti. Meanwhile, we had been reporting high sightings of young-of-year oceanic white tip sharks in our area, based on information and photos obtained from fishermen through the monitoring network.
The conclusion is that Haiti’s juvenile oceanic white tip shark population may be the offspring of the pregnant adult females previously tagged in the Bahamas. More research into this possibility occurred, when a group of leading shark scientists from Florida International Univerity, joined us in Haiti, to help them protect this critically endangered species in our waters! Many juvenile oceanic white tip sharks are caught and killed by local fishermen in Haiti, so this important research can help reduce mortality in these early life stages and ultimately provide the missing piece to the management puzzle for this critically endangered species.